Today Rob Crosby looks at the South Sydney Rabbitohs ahead of season 2017. Can they ascend the #NRL ...
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ROUND 20 PREVIEW
NORTHS DEVILS v BURLEIGH BEARS
Saturday, August 14 @ Bishop Park, 2pm* live on ABC TV
Three weeks out from the finals, Burleigh's moment of truth arrives in this important round 20 clash at Nundah. Burleigh has faltered at the finish in recent campaigns but they have enough competition points in the bank to be in control of their own destiny this time around. A win against the Devils should be enough to get the Bears into the finals, regardless of what happens over the next two weeks. Burleigh is in good form but Mark Gee's team will have to overcome a Norths outfit that should be hungry after last week's 42-10 capitulation to the Sunshine Coast. To be fair, not a lot went the Devils' way in that match and coach Kevin Carmichael will be keen to get his side back in winning form ahead of the finals. Both teams are close to full-strength and have named formidable line-ups for the ABC TV match-of-the-round showdown. Burleigh has won 18 of the previous 29 Queensland Cup matches between the clubs, including the last five.
SUNSHINE COAST v IPSWICH JETS
Saturday, August 14 @ Stockland Park, 2pm
Impressive Sunshine Coast youngster Chris Boss has retained his spot in the Sea Eagles' 17 after an eye-catching debut against Norths last weekend. The hard-running back-rower lifted the Sea Eagles with an energetic display against the Devils and coach Brandon Costin will be looking for a similar performance on Saturday. The Sunshine Coast has everything to play for in this round 20 clash against the last-placed Jets. A win could potentially lift them to third spot, while a loss would jeopardise their top six prospects. Ipswich is quietly confident of springing an upset after finding some rhythm in their 40-26 victory over Tweed Heads last weekend. The Jets were boosted by the return of hooker Michael Fisher from injury and the inclusion of Titans trio Esi Tonga, Aaron Cannings and Sam Tagataese in that match. Ipswich coach Glenn Lazarus has named an unchanged team.
MACKAY CUTTERS v TWEED HEADS
Saturday, August 14 @ Mackay Juniors, 5.30pm
Reliable Tweed forward Brock Hunter steps out for his 50th match in Seagulls colours. While his team is out of finals contention, the Seagulls can play a spoiling role and bundle the Cutters out of play-off contention as well. Mackay has a favourable run home but Paul Bramley's team may have to win all three games to qualify for their first finals series. Their job has been made that little bit harder by the promotion of Grant Rovelli, Ben Harris and Isaak Ah Mau into the Cowboys NRL squad this weekend. Rovelli's key five-eighth position has been taken by former Queensland Origin star Josh Hannay. Hannay, who is dual signed with the Moranbah Miners, has been used sparingly in the Intrust Super Cup this year but the former Cowboy now shapes as a key figure in the Cutters' bid for a top six berth.
SOUTHS LOGAN v CENTRAL COMETS
Saturday, August 14 @ Marley Brown Oval, Gladstone 7pm
Souths Logan are taking their round 20 clash to Gladstone and the Central Queensland locals will have no shortage of big name players to run their eyes over. The Magpies have named Raiders NRL regulars Glen Buttriss and Troy Thompson in their star-studded side. A win over the Comets would push Mark Beaumont's team a step closer to securing the minor premiership for a second-straight season. Souths Logan won last year's corresponding game 48-12 after stringing together two brilliant halves of football to overrun the Comets. With no finals spot to push for this time around, the injury-hit Comets squad will do well to avoid a similar scoreline. However, Central boasts a strong head to head record against the Magpies, winning 16 and drawing two of the 28 previous encounters. The Comets have also been boosted by the news that Wayne Barnett will stay on and coach the team in 2011.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v NORTHERN PRIDE
Sunday, August 15 @ Dolphin Oval, 2.30pm
Experienced Redcliffe halfback Mick Roberts returns to the Dolphins line-up for Saturday's crunch game against the in-form Pride. Roberts was dropped to the FOGS Cup for the round 19 clash against Burleigh but the former Bronco has been reinstated for a match the Dolphins simply must win. A loss here would virtually spell the end of Redcliffe's premiership ambitions. The proud Redcliffe club's backs-to-the-wall mentality spells trouble for the Pride. However, the Pride won't be short on confidence after winning six in a row. The northerners also have a strong head to head record against the Dolphins, with only one loss from five meetings. But most importantly, the Pride has found some genuine stability in its playing and coaching ranks over the last month. The 17 has rarely changed from week to week and the players and fans also know what direction the club is going in after coach David Maiden was re-appointed for the 2011 season.
WYNNUM MANLY v EASTS TIGERS
Sunday, August 15 @ BMD Kougari Oval, 3pm
Easts can salvage something from a disappointing season when they travel to BMD Kougari Oval. The Tigers have been competitive all season but have found wins hard to come by. But the Langlands Park club can put a major dent in Wynnum Manly's title ambitions with an upset win on Sunday. Wynnum sits in fourth spot but is still not guaranteed of a finals berth such is the tightness of the 2010 Intrust Super Cup competition. Wynnum fans will pay tribute to consistent back-rower Luke Dalziel-Don, who played his 100th game in the Seagulls' last start 28-16 win over the Central Comets in Rockhampton. Dalziel-Don is itching for another crack at finals football and his form over the next three rounds will have a major bearing on whether Paul Green's Seagulls are still alive in September.